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Benson/KMS opens against St. James at state meet today

What does it take to advance in the state girls tennis tournament?

Not many area teams know, but the Benson/KMS girls will be the latest to give it a shot as the Class A team tournament begins today with Benson/KMS taking on St. James at 2 p.m. at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.

No area team has won a quarterfinal dual since 2001, when Yellow Medicine East beat Minnewaska Area, 7-0. The Sting went on to finish third that year.

"They've got to play their best games," said coach Don Brehmer of his team. "In the first round against St. James, we have a chance. In the next round, against Rochester Lourdes, we'd need a miracle."

Experience will help Benson/KMS in its quest.

Top singles player Abby Fragodt and the top doubles duo of Lauren Alsaker and Chelsey Goff were on the team in 2006, the last time Benson/KMS qualified for the tournament.

Brehmer said against St. James, his team will need pick up at least two points in singles and in doubles to win, instead of depending on the strength of singles or doubles for a majority of the points.

Should Benson/KMS beat St. James, powerhouse Rochester Lourdes would probably be the next opponent. Lourdes beat Benson/KMS 7-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2006 state tournament.

"Lourdes is just so deep and they play all year 'round," Brehmer said. "If we get beat in the first round, I think we still have a chance in the consolation. We're pretty consistent as we go down the line."

The team tournament concludes Thursday, then the individual tournament begins Friday and ends Saturday. Fragodt in singles and Alsaker-Goff in doubles will be competing, as well as MACCRAY's Ashley Trulock in singles, Chelsie McGraw-Brenna Johnson of Litchfield and Katelyn Dubbelde-Kathi Liesenfield of YME in doubles.